Updated: Dec 28, 2019
An outstanding melodrama of thrills and spills that entertained all comers
Los Canesteros (3) 6
Británicos (3) 6
Morris 3, Shaw, Borque, Peribañez
Parque Ebro 02/12/18 18:30
Wells, Slater, Rooney, Pernas, Gilman, Morris, Borque, Peribañez, Shaw, Ferns
A well known brand of Scandinavian lager don't do football games, but if they did, this would probably be the template they would use.
Considering the free flowing chaos that was to follow, the first few minutes were astonishingly cagey. Both teams were desperate for a win, and the Brits had found themselves lacking their talismanic goalkeeper Cabañero and diminutive midfield dynamo Keane. Added to the absentee list were Kinsella and Ferns, although present, was still not 100 percent recovered from his hamstring. Wells volunteered to keep nets and his first job was to pick the ball out of the back of his goal after a speculative shot from distance left him unsighted.
The Brits kept their cool and showed real threat and purpose, finally playing as a team that seemed to understand each other. It came as a hammer blow that another fluke goal put them two nil down as a a ball was lofted forward and seemed to hang over the goal. To all intents and purposes it seemed to be drifting over but then absurdly spun back over the line. Wells was furious, but this seemed to drive the Brits into action.
Slater who had moved into the back line, started to show some deft feints at the back, opening up passing options to bring the attacking play together. Pernas was once again playing a majestic part in the midfield, but it was the ungainly Rooney who set the game aflame. Driving with the ball out of defence he seemed to have run himself into trouble, but shrugged off two challenges and then surged forward again, he seemed to have pushed the ball too far ahead of himself but his outstretched leg jinked it back under control and then the ugly duckling transformed into a swan, pirouetting through a challenge like a six foot tall ballerina and the Brits felt their pulses quicken. They laid siege to the opposition goal, and it was only a matter of time before Morris scored from distance curling it inside the far post. Shaw then hit the bar, Rooney the post before Morris converted a penalty. The Exiles were not finished as a third was added and the opposition were rocking as the game was flipped on it's head.
In defence the leaks had been tightened up and the little danger that was faced were speculative long distance efforts that did not trouble the keeper, until the Exiles were then pegged back by a well hit shot that stayed low, despite Wells getting to it, he could only push it behind the post. Los Canasteros rallied and managed to get a tight ball into the box on the stroke of half time, this time, much to his relief, Wells was there to clear and the teams went into the break all square after a pulsating half.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with end to end high octane entertainment. The Brits could not believe their luck as they continued to hit the woodwork, meanwhile at the back, a deflection on a shot came off Pernas and Wells had to change his direction to scoop the ball away for a corner.
The Brits restored their lead through Borque only to be pegged back by a penalty. An absurd pinball scramble followed as the Brits contrived to hit both uprights and the bar before restoring their lead, although if you watch the video it seems the ball had already crossed the line before being put beyond doubt by Peribañez.
The Exiles hit the bar and the post once more, Rooney watched an outstretched effort spill wide and Morris took too long to think over an opportunity that he would normally finish without hesitation. Wells came rushing out to put pressure on the approaching striker to keep the match in balance. The Brits were hungry and sharp, looked solid and a delight to watch, unfortunately, their weakness at the back meant that a one goal advantage looked unsteady. The clocked ticked on, the match had started late and by now the teams awaiting the end of the match to play their game had gathered on the sidelines. They had ceased their warm ups and were transfixed by the events on the field, joined by the teams finishing the game alongside. And still their was more drama to follow. Slater, who had turned men inside out at the back all evening, lost the ball and the opposition struck, pulling defence and keeper to the left before finishing to the right to bring the sides level once more. A free kick was then spilled by Wells but he managed to punch clear the rebound. The Brits surged forward and Morris finally bagged his hat trick. There were scant seconds remaining, but the opposition found a las gasp effort beating the back line and one on one left the keeper no chance.
Despite the lateness of the hour, and the tiredness of the legs, the Brits pushed forward once more, sensing their chance to snatch it back once more and as the grains of sand in the hourglass of destiny dribbled away, Pernas had a free kick after a high boot and a final chance to launch into the box. He swerved the ball across the face of goal and it found the back of the net, the Brits could not contain themselves, but the referee called it back, claiming the free kick was indirect. Protestations were waved aside, the decision stood.
The whistle blew shortly after and both teams were greeted by warm applause from all who had stood spellbound by the unfolding drama. Everyone had enjoyed a sterling display of entertainment. A game played in a wonderful spirit, with no malice or aggression, and a mutual respect and sporting manner. The only people to leave the pitch with a grimace were the two keepers.
A draw was not ideal, or desired by either team, but on balance probably a fair result for the enjoyment derived. The Brits had finally demonstrated some exquisite interplay and relentless threat that give much enthusiasm and expectation for future matches. Today, this team truly became a team.
With no match for the national holiday this coming weekend, thoughts turn to the Christmas social on December 14th before the final game of the year on the 16th. Come join us for a pint of seasonal cheer in Gallaghers and get yourself a slice of the Británico spirit, where we treat triumph and disaster just the same.